Publications by authors named "Kay Metcalfe"

47 Publications

Bi-allelic premature truncating variants in LTBP1 cause cutis laxa syndrome.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 06 14;108(6):1095-1114. Epub 2021 May 14.

Center for Medical Genetics Ghent, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent 9000, Belgium; Department of Biomolecular Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent 9000, Belgium. Electronic address:

Latent transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-binding proteins (LTBPs) are microfibril-associated proteins essential for anchoring TGFβ in the extracellular matrix (ECM) as well as for correct assembly of ECM components. Variants in LTBP2, LTBP3, and LTBP4 have been identified in several autosomal recessive Mendelian disorders with skeletal abnormalities with or without impaired development of elastin-rich tissues. Thus far, the human phenotype associated with LTBP1 deficiency has remained enigmatic. In this study, we report homozygous premature truncating LTBP1 variants in eight affected individuals from four unrelated consanguineous families. Affected individuals present with connective tissue features (cutis laxa and inguinal hernia), craniofacial dysmorphology, variable heart defects, and prominent skeletal features (craniosynostosis, short stature, brachydactyly, and syndactyly). In vitro studies on proband-derived dermal fibroblasts indicate distinct molecular mechanisms depending on the position of the variant in LTBP1. C-terminal variants lead to an altered LTBP1 loosely anchored in the microfibrillar network and cause increased ECM deposition in cultured fibroblasts associated with excessive TGFβ growth factor activation and signaling. In contrast, N-terminal truncation results in a loss of LTBP1 that does not alter TGFβ levels or ECM assembly. In vivo validation with two independent zebrafish lines carrying mutations in ltbp1 induce abnormal collagen fibrillogenesis in skin and intervertebral ligaments and ectopic bone formation on the vertebrae. In addition, one of the mutant zebrafish lines shows voluminous and hypo-mineralized vertebrae. Overall, our findings in humans and zebrafish show that LTBP1 function is crucial for skin and bone ECM assembly and homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.04.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206382PMC
June 2021

Missense variants in the N-terminal domain of the A isoform of FHF2/FGF13 cause an X-linked developmental and epileptic encephalopathy.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 01 26;108(1):176-185. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

Neurology and Molecular Neuroscience Research, Institute of Life Science, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK; Kids Neuroscience Centre, Kids Research, Children Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW 2145, Australia; Brain and Mind Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, NSW 2050, Australia.

Fibroblast growth factor homologous factors (FHFs) are intracellular proteins which regulate voltage-gated sodium (Na) channels in the brain and other tissues. FHF dysfunction has been linked to neurological disorders including epilepsy. Here, we describe two sibling pairs and three unrelated males who presented in infancy with intractable focal seizures and severe developmental delay. Whole-exome sequencing identified hemi- and heterozygous variants in the N-terminal domain of the A isoform of FHF2 (FHF2A). The X-linked FHF2 gene (also known as FGF13) has alternative first exons which produce multiple protein isoforms that differ in their N-terminal sequence. The variants were located at highly conserved residues in the FHF2A inactivation particle that competes with the intrinsic fast inactivation mechanism of Na channels. Functional characterization of mutant FHF2A co-expressed with wild-type Na1.6 (SCN8A) revealed that mutant FHF2A proteins lost the ability to induce rapid-onset, long-term blockade of the channel while retaining pro-excitatory properties. These gain-of-function effects are likely to increase neuronal excitability consistent with the epileptic potential of FHF2 variants. Our findings demonstrate that FHF2 variants are a cause of infantile-onset developmental and epileptic encephalopathy and underline the critical role of the FHF2A isoform in regulating Na channel function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.10.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820623PMC
January 2021

De novo SMARCA2 variants clustered outside the helicase domain cause a new recognizable syndrome with intellectual disability and blepharophimosis distinct from Nicolaides-Baraitser syndrome.

Genet Med 2020 11 22;22(11):1838-1850. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

Department of Genetics, Robert Debré Hospital, AP-HP, Paris, France.

Purpose: Nontruncating variants in SMARCA2, encoding a catalytic subunit of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, cause Nicolaides-Baraitser syndrome (NCBRS), a condition with intellectual disability and multiple congenital anomalies. Other disorders due to SMARCA2 are unknown.

Methods: By next-generation sequencing, we identified candidate variants in SMARCA2 in 20 individuals from 18 families with a syndromic neurodevelopmental disorder not consistent with NCBRS. To stratify variant interpretation, we functionally analyzed SMARCA2 variants in yeasts and performed transcriptomic and genome methylation analyses on blood leukocytes.

Results: Of 20 individuals, 14 showed a recognizable phenotype with recurrent features including epicanthal folds, blepharophimosis, and downturned nasal tip along with variable degree of intellectual disability (or blepharophimosis intellectual disability syndrome [BIS]). In contrast to most NCBRS variants, all SMARCA2 variants associated with BIS are localized outside the helicase domains. Yeast phenotype assays differentiated NCBRS from non-NCBRS SMARCA2 variants. Transcriptomic and DNA methylation signatures differentiated NCBRS from BIS and those with nonspecific phenotype. In the remaining six individuals with nonspecific dysmorphic features, clinical and molecular data did not permit variant reclassification.

Conclusion: We identified a novel recognizable syndrome named BIS associated with clustered de novo SMARCA2 variants outside the helicase domains, phenotypically and molecularly distinct from NCBRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0898-yDOI Listing
November 2020

GATAD2B-associated neurodevelopmental disorder (GAND): clinical and molecular insights into a NuRD-related disorder.

Genet Med 2020 05 17;22(5):878-888. Epub 2020 Jan 17.

Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, Australia.

Purpose: Determination of genotypic/phenotypic features of GATAD2B-associated neurodevelopmental disorder (GAND).

Methods: Fifty GAND subjects were evaluated to determine consistent genotypic/phenotypic features. Immunoprecipitation assays utilizing in vitro transcription-translation products were used to evaluate GATAD2B missense variants' ability to interact with binding partners within the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex.

Results: Subjects had clinical findings that included macrocephaly, hypotonia, intellectual disability, neonatal feeding issues, polyhydramnios, apraxia of speech, epilepsy, and bicuspid aortic valves. Forty-one novelGATAD2B variants were identified with multiple variant types (nonsense, truncating frameshift, splice-site variants, deletions, and missense). Seven subjects were identified with missense variants that localized within two conserved region domains (CR1 or CR2) of the GATAD2B protein. Immunoprecipitation assays revealed several of these missense variants disrupted GATAD2B interactions with its NuRD complex binding partners.

Conclusions: A consistent GAND phenotype was caused by a range of genetic variants in GATAD2B that include loss-of-function and missense subtypes. Missense variants were present in conserved region domains that disrupted assembly of NuRD complex proteins. GAND's clinical phenotype had substantial clinical overlap with other disorders associated with the NuRD complex that involve CHD3 and CHD4, with clinical features of hypotonia, intellectual disability, cardiac defects, childhood apraxia of speech, and macrocephaly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-019-0747-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7920571PMC
May 2020

The CHD8 overgrowth syndrome: A detailed evaluation of an emerging overgrowth phenotype in 27 patients.

Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet 2019 12 13;181(4):557-564. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California.

CHD8 has been reported as an autism susceptibility/intellectual disability gene but emerging evidence suggests that it additionally causes an overgrowth phenotype. This study reports 27 unrelated patients with pathogenic or likely pathogenic CHD8 variants (25 null variants, two missense variants) and a male:female ratio of 21:6 (3.5:1, p < .01). All patients presented with intellectual disability, with 85% in the mild or moderate range, and 85% had a height and/or head circumference ≥2 standard deviations above the mean, meeting our clinical criteria for overgrowth. Behavioral problems were reported in the majority of patients (78%), with over half (56%) either formally diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder or described as having autistic traits. Additional clinical features included neonatal hypotonia (33%), and less frequently seizures, pes planus, scoliosis, fifth finger clinodactyly, umbilical hernia, and glabellar hemangioma (≤15% each). These results suggest that, in addition to its established link with autism and intellectual disability, CHD8 causes an overgrowth phenotype, and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with increased height and/or head circumference in association with intellectual disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.c.31749DOI Listing
December 2019

DSE associated musculocontractural EDS, a milder phenotype or phenotypic variability.

Eur J Med Genet 2020 Apr 23;63(4):103798. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Yorkshire Regional Genetics Service, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK.

Musculocontractural Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (mcEDS) is an autosomal recessive condition characterized by distinct craniofacial features, multisystem congenital malformations and progressive fragility of connective tissues. It is caused by pathogenic variants in CHST14 and DSE genes. There are three reports of pathogenic variants in DSE in four mcEDS patients. In this study we provide clinical and molecular presentation of two new patients with DSE related mcEDS. Analysing clinical exome data, a homozygous pathogenic DSE variant, c.1150_1157del p.(Pro384Trpfs*9), was identified in a 32 year old man with bilateral congenital talipes equinovarus, characteristic facial features, myopia, hyperextensible skin at the elbows, significant palmar wrinkling, bilateral inguinal hernias and chronic leg, back and joint pain. Electron microscopical examination of skin biopsy showed changes consistent with mild compensatory elastic fibre hypertrophy and mildly loose collagen bundles. The variant is predicted to result in a frameshift and introduction of a premature termination codon in the final exon of the DSE gene, anticipated to lead to the loss of approximately 60% of the normal reading frame. The second patient has a phenotype consistent with previously reported cases of DSE associated musculocontractural EDS. A novel homozygous missense DSE variant of uncertain clinical significance was detected. This case study further delineates the DSE associated mcEDS phenotype and illustrates absence of major cutaneous, cardiovascular, renal and respiratory features, which supports previous suggestions that patients with DSE associated mcEDS present with a milder phenotype compared to those with CHST14 mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2019.103798DOI Listing
April 2020

Mutations in PCYT2 disrupt etherlipid biosynthesis and cause a complex hereditary spastic paraplegia.

Brain 2019 11;142(11):3382-3397

Manchester Centre for Genomics Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester University Hospital Foundation Trust, Health Innovation Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK.

CTP:phosphoethanolamine cytidylyltransferase (ET), encoded by PCYT2, is the rate-limiting enzyme for phosphatidylethanolamine synthesis via the CDP-ethanolamine pathway. Phosphatidylethanolamine is one of the most abundant membrane lipids and is particularly enriched in the brain. We identified five individuals with biallelic PCYT2 variants clinically characterized by global developmental delay with regression, spastic para- or tetraparesis, epilepsy and progressive cerebral and cerebellar atrophy. Using patient fibroblasts we demonstrated that these variants are hypomorphic, result in altered but residual ET protein levels and concomitant reduced enzyme activity without affecting mRNA levels. The significantly better survival of hypomorphic CRISPR-Cas9 generated pcyt2 zebrafish knockout compared to a complete knockout, in conjunction with previously described data on the Pcyt2 mouse model, indicates that complete loss of ET function may be incompatible with life in vertebrates. Lipidomic analysis revealed profound lipid abnormalities in patient fibroblasts impacting both neutral etherlipid and etherphospholipid metabolism. Plasma lipidomics studies also identified changes in etherlipids that have the potential to be used as biomarkers for ET deficiency. In conclusion, our data establish PCYT2 as a disease gene for a new complex hereditary spastic paraplegia and confirm that etherlipid homeostasis is important for the development and function of the brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awz291DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6821184PMC
November 2019

The CHD4-related syndrome: a comprehensive investigation of the clinical spectrum, genotype-phenotype correlations, and molecular basis.

Genet Med 2020 02 7;22(2):389-397. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Division of Genomic Diagnostics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Purpose: Sifrim-Hitz-Weiss syndrome (SIHIWES) is a recently described multisystemic neurodevelopmental disorder caused by de novo variants inCHD4. In this study, we investigated the clinical spectrum of the disorder, genotype-phenotype correlations, and the effect of different missense variants on CHD4 function.

Methods: We collected clinical and molecular data from 32 individuals with mostly de novo variants in CHD4, identified through next-generation sequencing. We performed adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis and nucleosome remodeling assays on variants from five different CHD4 domains.

Results: The majority of participants had global developmental delay, mild to moderate intellectual disability, brain anomalies, congenital heart defects, and dysmorphic features. Macrocephaly was a frequent but not universal finding. Additional common abnormalities included hypogonadism in males, skeletal and limb anomalies, hearing impairment, and ophthalmic abnormalities. The majority of variants were nontruncating and affected the SNF2-like region of the protein. We did not identify genotype-phenotype correlations based on the type or location of variants. Alterations in ATP hydrolysis and chromatin remodeling activities were observed in variants from different domains.

Conclusion: The CHD4-related syndrome is a multisystemic neurodevelopmental disorder. Missense substitutions in different protein domains alter CHD4 function in a variant-specific manner, but result in a similar phenotype in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-019-0612-0DOI Listing
February 2020

The clinical presentation caused by truncating CHD8 variants.

Clin Genet 2019 07 14;96(1):72-84. Epub 2019 May 14.

Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, Manchester, UK.

Variants in the chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 8 (CHD8) have been associated with intellectual disability (ID), autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and overgrowth and CHD8 is one of the causative genes for OGID (overgrowth and ID). We investigated 25 individuals with CHD8 protein truncating variants (PTVs), including 10 previously unreported patients and found a male to female ratio of 2.7:1 (19:7) and a pattern of common features: macrocephaly (62.5%), tall stature (47%), developmental delay and/or intellectual disability (81%), ASDs (84%), sleep difficulties (50%), gastrointestinal problems (40%), and distinct facial features. Most of the individuals in this cohort had moderate-to-severe ID, some had regression of speech (37%), seizures (27%) and hypotonia (27%) and two individuals were non-ambulant. Our study shows that haploinsufficiency of CHD8 is associated with a distinctive OGID syndrome with pronounced autistic traits and supports a sex-dependent penetrance of CHD8 PTVs in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cge.13554DOI Listing
July 2019

Correction: The ARID1B spectrum in 143 patients: from nonsyndromic intellectual disability to Coffin-Siris syndrome.

Genet Med 2019 Sep;21(9):2160-2161

University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Genetics, Groningen, The Netherlands.

The original version of this Article contained an error in the spelling of the author Pleuntje J. van der Sluijs, which was incorrectly given as Eline (P. J.) van der Sluijs. This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-018-0368-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6752317PMC
September 2019

DNA Polymerase Epsilon Deficiency Causes IMAGe Syndrome with Variable Immunodeficiency.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 12 29;103(6):1038-1044. Epub 2018 Nov 29.

Sorbonne Université, INSERM, UMR_S 938, APHP, Hospital Trousseau, 75012 Paris, France.

During genome replication, polymerase epsilon (Pol ε) acts as the major leading-strand DNA polymerase. Here we report the identification of biallelic mutations in POLE, encoding the Pol ε catalytic subunit POLE1, in 15 individuals from 12 families. Phenotypically, these individuals had clinical features closely resembling IMAGe syndrome (intrauterine growth restriction [IUGR], metaphyseal dysplasia, adrenal hypoplasia congenita, and genitourinary anomalies in males), a disorder previously associated with gain-of-function mutations in CDKN1C. POLE1-deficient individuals also exhibited distinctive facial features and variable immune dysfunction with evidence of lymphocyte deficiency. All subjects shared the same intronic variant (c.1686+32C>G) as part of a common haplotype, in combination with different loss-of-function variants in trans. The intronic variant alters splicing, and together the biallelic mutations lead to cellular deficiency of Pol ε and delayed S-phase progression. In summary, we establish POLE as a second gene in which mutations cause IMAGe syndrome. These findings add to a growing list of disorders due to mutations in DNA replication genes that manifest growth restriction alongside adrenal dysfunction and/or immunodeficiency, consolidating these as replisome phenotypes and highlighting a need for future studies to understand the tissue-specific development roles of the encoded proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.10.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288413PMC
December 2018

The ARID1B spectrum in 143 patients: from nonsyndromic intellectual disability to Coffin-Siris syndrome.

Genet Med 2019 06 8;21(6):1295-1307. Epub 2018 Nov 8.

University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Genetics, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Pathogenic variants in ARID1B are one of the most frequent causes of intellectual disability (ID) as determined by large-scale exome sequencing studies. Most studies published thus far describe clinically diagnosed Coffin-Siris patients (ARID1B-CSS) and it is unclear whether these data are representative for patients identified through sequencing of unbiased ID cohorts (ARID1B-ID). We therefore sought to determine genotypic and phenotypic differences between ARID1B-ID and ARID1B-CSS. In parallel, we investigated the effect of different methods of phenotype reporting.

Methods: Clinicians entered clinical data in an extensive web-based survey.

Results: 79 ARID1B-CSS and 64 ARID1B-ID patients were included. CSS-associated dysmorphic features, such as thick eyebrows, long eyelashes, thick alae nasi, long and/or broad philtrum, small nails and small or absent fifth distal phalanx and hypertrichosis, were observed significantly more often (p < 0.001) in ARID1B-CSS patients. No other significant differences were identified.

Conclusion: There are only minor differences between ARID1B-ID and ARID1B-CSS patients. ARID1B-related disorders seem to consist of a spectrum, and patients should be managed similarly. We demonstrated that data collection methods without an explicit option to report the absence of a feature (such as most Human Phenotype Ontology-based methods) tended to underestimate gene-related features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-018-0330-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6752273PMC
June 2019

Corrigendum to "Childhood-onset generalized epilepsy in Bainbridge-Ropers syndrome" [Epilepsy Res. 140 (2018) 166-170].

Epilepsy Res 2018 11 10;147:121. Epub 2018 Aug 10.

Epilepsy Research Centre, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, 3084, Australia; Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, 50 Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia; Department of Neurology, Royal Children's Hospital, 50 Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia; The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, 245 Burgundy St., Heidelberg, Victoria, 3084, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2018.07.019DOI Listing
November 2018

Mutations in six nephrosis genes delineate a pathogenic pathway amenable to treatment.

Nat Commun 2018 05 17;9(1):1960. Epub 2018 May 17.

Department of Medical Genetics, Tohoku University School of Medicine, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8574, Japan.

No efficient treatment exists for nephrotic syndrome (NS), a frequent cause of chronic kidney disease. Here we show mutations in six different genes (MAGI2, TNS2, DLC1, CDK20, ITSN1, ITSN2) as causing NS in 17 families with partially treatment-sensitive NS (pTSNS). These proteins interact and we delineate their roles in Rho-like small GTPase (RLSG) activity, and demonstrate deficiency for mutants of pTSNS patients. We find that CDK20 regulates DLC1. Knockdown of MAGI2, DLC1, or CDK20 in cultured podocytes reduces migration rate. Treatment with dexamethasone abolishes RhoA activation by knockdown of DLC1 or CDK20 indicating that steroid treatment in patients with pTSNS and mutations in these genes is mediated by this RLSG module. Furthermore, we discover ITSN1 and ITSN2 as podocytic guanine nucleotide exchange factors for Cdc42. We generate Itsn2-L knockout mice that recapitulate the mild NS phenotype. We, thus, define a functional network of RhoA regulation, thereby revealing potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04193-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958119PMC
May 2018

Polε Instability Drives Replication Stress, Abnormal Development, and Tumorigenesis.

Mol Cell 2018 05 10;70(4):707-721.e7. Epub 2018 May 10.

The Francis Crick Institute, 1 Midland Road, London NW1 1AT, UK. Electronic address:

DNA polymerase ε (POLE) is a four-subunit complex and the major leading strand polymerase in eukaryotes. Budding yeast orthologs of POLE3 and POLE4 promote Polε processivity in vitro but are dispensable for viability in vivo. Here, we report that POLE4 deficiency in mice destabilizes the entire Polε complex, leading to embryonic lethality in inbred strains and extensive developmental abnormalities, leukopenia, and tumor predisposition in outbred strains. Comparable phenotypes of growth retardation and immunodeficiency are also observed in human patients harboring destabilizing mutations in POLE1. In both Pole4 mouse and POLE1 mutant human cells, Polε hypomorphy is associated with replication stress and p53 activation, which we attribute to inefficient replication origin firing. Strikingly, removing p53 is sufficient to rescue embryonic lethality and all developmental abnormalities in Pole4 null mice. However, Pole4p53 mice exhibit accelerated tumorigenesis, revealing an important role for controlled CMG and origin activation in normal development and tumor prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2018.04.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5972231PMC
May 2018

Childhood-onset generalized epilepsy in Bainbridge-Ropers syndrome.

Epilepsy Res 2018 02 3;140:166-170. Epub 2018 Feb 3.

Epilepsy Research Centre, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, 3084, Australia; Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, 50 Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia; Department of Neurology, Royal Children's Hospital, 50 Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia; The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, 245 Burgundy St., Heidelberg, Victoria, 3084, Australia.

Bainbridge-Ropers syndrome is a genetic syndrome caused by heterozygous loss-of-function pathogenic variants in ASXL3, which encodes a protein involved in transcriptional regulation. Affected individuals have multiple abnormalities including developmental impairment, hypotonia and characteristic facial features. Seizures are reported in approximately a third of cases; however, the epileptology has not been thoroughly studied. We identified three patients with pathogenic ASXL3 variants and seizures at Austin Health and in the DECIPHER database. These three patients had novel de novo ASXL3 pathogenic variants, two with truncation variants and one with a splice site variant. All three had childhood-onset generalized epilepsy with generalized tonic-clonic seizures, with one also having atypical absence seizures. We also reviewed available clinical data on five published patients with Bainbridge-Ropers syndrome and seizures. Of the five previously published patients, three also had generalized tonic-clonic seizures, one of whom also had possible absence seizures; a fourth patient had absence seizures and possible focal seizures. EEG typically showed features consistent with generalized epilepsy including generalized spike-wave, photoparoxysmal response, and occipital intermittent rhythmic epileptiform activity. Bainbridge-Ropers syndrome is associated with childhood-onset generalized epilepsy with generalized tonic-clonic seizures and/or atypical absence seizures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2018.01.014DOI Listing
February 2018

Heterozygous mutations affecting the protein kinase domain of cause a syndromic form of developmental delay and intellectual disability.

J Med Genet 2018 01 11;55(1):28-38. Epub 2017 Oct 11.

Nottingham Clinical Genetics Service, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK.

Introduction: Recent evidence has emerged linking mutations in to syndromic congenital heart disease. We present here genetic and phenotypic data pertaining to 16 individuals with mutations.

Methods: Patients were investigated by exome sequencing, having presented with developmental delay and additional features suggestive of a syndromic cause.

Results: Our cohort comprised 16 individuals aged 4-16 years. All had developmental delay, including six with autism spectrum disorder. Common findings included feeding difficulties (15/16), structural cardiac anomalies (9/16), seizures (4/16) and abnormalities of the corpus callosum (4/11 patients who had undergone MRI). All had craniofacial dysmorphism, with common features including short, upslanting palpebral fissures, hypertelorism or telecanthus, medial epicanthic folds, low-set, posteriorly rotated ears and a small mouth with thin upper lip vermilion. Fifteen patients had predicted missense mutations, including five identical p.(Asn842Ser) substitutions and two p.(Gly717Arg) substitutions. One patient had a canonical splice acceptor site variant (c.2898-1G>A). All mutations were located within the protein kinase domain of CDK13. The affected amino acids are highly conserved, and in silico analyses including comparative protein modelling predict that they will interfere with protein function. The location of the missense mutations in a key catalytic domain suggests that they are likely to cause loss of catalytic activity but retention of cyclin K binding, resulting in a dominant negative mode of action. Although the splice-site mutation was predicted to produce a stable internally deleted protein, this was not supported by expression studies in lymphoblastoid cells. A loss of function contribution to the underlying pathological mechanism therefore cannot be excluded, and the clinical significance of this variant remains uncertain.

Conclusions: These patients demonstrate that heterozygous, likely dominant negative mutations affecting the protein kinase domain of the gene result in a recognisable, syndromic form of intellectual disability, with or without congenital heart disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2017-104620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5749303PMC
January 2018

Heterozygous truncation mutations of the SMC1A gene cause a severe early onset epilepsy with cluster seizures in females: Detailed phenotyping of 10 new cases.

Epilepsia 2017 04 6;58(4):565-575. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

The Paediatric Neurosciences Research Group, Royal Hospital for Children, Queen Elizabeth University Hospitals, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Objective: The phenotype of seizure clustering with febrile illnesses in infancy/early childhood is well recognized. To date the only genetic epilepsy consistently associated with this phenotype is PCDH19, an X-linked disorder restricted to females, and males with mosaicism. The SMC1A gene, which encodes a structural component of the cohesin complex is also located on the X chromosome. Missense variants and small in-frame deletions of SMC1A cause approximately 5% of Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). Recently, protein truncating mutations in SMC1A have been reported in five females, all of whom have been affected by a drug-resistant epilepsy, and severe developmental impairment. Our objective was to further delineate the phenotype of SMC1A truncation.

Method: Female cases with de novo truncation mutations in SMC1A were identified from the Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD) study (n = 8), from postmortem testing of an affected twin (n = 1), and from clinical testing with an epilepsy gene panel (n = 1). Detailed information on the phenotype in each case was obtained.

Results: Ten cases with heterozygous de novo mutations in the SMC1A gene are presented. All 10 mutations identified are predicted to result in premature truncation of the SMC1A protein. All cases are female, and none had a clinical diagnosis of CdLS. They presented with onset of epileptic seizures between <4 weeks and 28 months of age. In the majority of cases, a marked preponderance for seizures to occur in clusters was noted. Seizure clusters were associated with developmental regression. Moderate or severe developmental impairment was apparent in all cases.

Significance: Truncation mutations in SMC1A cause a severe epilepsy phenotype with cluster seizures in females. These mutations are likely to be nonviable in males.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.13669DOI Listing
April 2017

Mutations in the HECT domain of NEDD4L lead to AKT-mTOR pathway deregulation and cause periventricular nodular heterotopia.

Nat Genet 2016 11 3;48(11):1349-1358. Epub 2016 Oct 3.

Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria.

Neurodevelopmental disorders with periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH) are etiologically heterogeneous, and their genetic causes remain in many cases unknown. Here we show that missense mutations in NEDD4L mapping to the HECT domain of the encoded E3 ubiquitin ligase lead to PNH associated with toe syndactyly, cleft palate and neurodevelopmental delay. Cellular and expression data showed sensitivity of PNH-associated mutants to proteasome degradation. Moreover, an in utero electroporation approach showed that PNH-related mutants and excess wild-type NEDD4L affect neurogenesis, neuronal positioning and terminal translocation. Further investigations, including rapamycin-based experiments, found differential deregulation of pathways involved. Excess wild-type NEDD4L leads to disruption of Dab1 and mTORC1 pathways, while PNH-related mutations are associated with deregulation of mTORC1 and AKT activities. Altogether, these data provide insights into the critical role of NEDD4L in the regulation of mTOR pathways and their contributions in cortical development.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5086093PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3676DOI Listing
November 2016

Clinical and genetic aspects of KBG syndrome.

Am J Med Genet A 2016 11 26;170(11):2835-2846. Epub 2016 Sep 26.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.

KBG syndrome is characterized by short stature, distinctive facial features, and developmental/cognitive delay and is caused by mutations in ANKRD11, one of the ankyrin repeat-containing cofactors. We describe 32 KBG patients aged 2-47 years from 27 families ascertained via two pathways: targeted ANKRD11 sequencing (TS) in a group who had a clinical diagnosis of KBG and whole exome sequencing (ES) in a second group in whom the diagnosis was unknown. Speech delay and learning difficulties were almost universal and variable behavioral problems frequent. Macrodontia of permanent upper central incisors was seen in 85%. Other clinical features included short stature, conductive hearing loss, recurrent middle ear infection, palatal abnormalities, and feeding difficulties. We recognized a new feature of a wide anterior fontanelle with delayed closure in 22%. The subtle facial features of KBG syndrome were recognizable in half the patients. We identified 20 ANKRD11 mutations (18 novel: all truncating) confirmed by Sanger sequencing in 32 patients. Comparison of the two ascertainment groups demonstrated that facial/other typical features were more subtle in the ES group. There were no conclusive phenotype-genotype correlations. Our findings suggest that mutation of ANKRD11 is a common Mendelian cause of developmental delay. Affected patients may not show the characteristic KBG phenotype and the diagnosis is therefore easily missed. We propose updated diagnostic criteria/clinical recommendations for KBG syndrome and suggest that inclusion of ANKRD11 will increase the utility of gene panels designed to investigate developmental delay. © 2016 The Authors. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.37842DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435101PMC
November 2016

Distinct genetic architectures for syndromic and nonsyndromic congenital heart defects identified by exome sequencing.

Nat Genet 2016 09 1;48(9):1060-5. Epub 2016 Aug 1.

Department of Congenital Heart Disease and Pediatric Cardiology, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

Congenital heart defects (CHDs) have a neonatal incidence of 0.8-1% (refs. 1,2). Despite abundant examples of monogenic CHD in humans and mice, CHD has a low absolute sibling recurrence risk (∼2.7%), suggesting a considerable role for de novo mutations (DNMs) and/or incomplete penetrance. De novo protein-truncating variants (PTVs) have been shown to be enriched among the 10% of 'syndromic' patients with extra-cardiac manifestations. We exome sequenced 1,891 probands, including both syndromic CHD (S-CHD, n = 610) and nonsyndromic CHD (NS-CHD, n = 1,281). In S-CHD, we confirmed a significant enrichment of de novo PTVs but not inherited PTVs in known CHD-associated genes, consistent with recent findings. Conversely, in NS-CHD we observed significant enrichment of PTVs inherited from unaffected parents in CHD-associated genes. We identified three genome-wide significant S-CHD disorders caused by DNMs in CHD4, CDK13 and PRKD1. Our study finds evidence for distinct genetic architectures underlying the low sibling recurrence risk in S-CHD and NS-CHD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3627DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988037PMC
September 2016

TAF1 Variants Are Associated with Dysmorphic Features, Intellectual Disability, and Neurological Manifestations.

Am J Hum Genet 2015 Dec;97(6):922-32

Gene by Gene Ltd., Houston, TX 77008, USA.

We describe an X-linked genetic syndrome associated with mutations in TAF1 and manifesting with global developmental delay, intellectual disability (ID), characteristic facial dysmorphology, generalized hypotonia, and variable neurologic features, all in male individuals. Simultaneous studies using diverse strategies led to the identification of nine families with overlapping clinical presentations and affected by de novo or maternally inherited single-nucleotide changes. Two additional families harboring large duplications involving TAF1 were also found to share phenotypic overlap with the probands harboring single-nucleotide changes, but they also demonstrated a severe neurodegeneration phenotype. Functional analysis with RNA-seq for one of the families suggested that the phenotype is associated with downregulation of a set of genes notably enriched with genes regulated by E-box proteins. In addition, knockdown and mutant studies of this gene in zebrafish have shown a quantifiable, albeit small, effect on a neuronal phenotype. Our results suggest that mutations in TAF1 play a critical role in the development of this X-linked ID syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.11.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4678794PMC
December 2015

Oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum: clinical and molecular analysis of 51 patients.

Eur J Med Genet 2015 Sep 20;58(9):455-65. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, Institute of Human Development, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as part of Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC), Manchester, UK. Electronic address:

Introduction: Oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum (OAVS OMIM 164210) is a craniofacial developmental disorder affecting the development of the structures derived from the 1st and the 2nd branchial arches during embryogenesis, with consequential maxillary, mandibular, and ear abnormalities. The phenotype in OAVS is variable and associated clinical features can involve the cardiac, renal, skeletal, and central nervous systems. Its aetiology is still poorly understood.

Methods: We have evaluated the clinical phenotypes of 51 previously unpublished patients with OAVS and their parents, and performed comparative genomic hybridization microarray studies to identify potential causative loci.

Results: Of all 51 patients, 16 (31%) had a family history of OAVS. Most had no relevant pre-natal history and only 5 (10%) cases had a history of environmental exposures that have previously been described as risk factors for OAVS. In 28 (55%) cases, the malformations were unilateral. When the involvement was bilateral, it was asymmetric. Ear abnormalities were present in 47 (92%) patients (unilateral in 24; and bilateral in 23). Hearing loss was common (85%), mostly conductive, but also sensorineural, or a combination of both. Hemifacial microsomia was present in 46 (90%) patients (17 also presented facial nerve palsy). Ocular anomalies were present in 15 (29%) patients. Vertebral anomalies were confirmed in 10 (20%) cases; 50% of those had additional heart, brain and/or other organ abnormalities. Brain abnormalities were present in 5 (10%) patients; developmental delay was more common among these patients. Limb abnormalities were found in 6 (12%) patients, and urogenital anomalies in 5 (10%). Array-CGH analysis identified 22q11 dosage anomalies in 10 out of 22 index cases screened.

Discussion: In this study we carried out in-depth phenotyping of OAVS in a large, multicentre cohort. Clinical characteristics are in line with those reported previously, however, we observed a higher incidence of hemifacial microsomia and lower incidence of ocular anomalies. Furthermore our data suggests that OAVS patients with vertebral anomalies or congenital heart defects have a higher frequency of additional brain, limb or other malformations. We had a higher rate of familial cases in our cohort in comparison with previous reports, possibly because these cases were referred preferentially to our genetic clinic where family members underwent examination. We propose that familial OAVS cases show phenotypic variability, hence, affected relatives might have been misclassified in previous reports. Moreover, in view of its phenotypic variability, OAVS is potentially a spectrum of conditions, which overlap with other conditions, such as mandibulofacial dysostosis. Array CGH in our cohort identified recurrent dosage anomalies on 22q11, which may contribute to, or increase the risk of OAVS. We hypothesize that although the 22q11 locus may harbour gene(s) or regulatory elements that play a role in the regulation of craniofacial symmetry and 1st and 2nd branchial arch development, OAVS is a heterogeneous condition and many cases have a multifactorial aetiology or are caused by mutations in as yet unidentified gene(s).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2015.07.003DOI Listing
September 2015

Genetic contributions to visuospatial cognition in Williams syndrome: insights from two contrasting partial deletion patients.

J Neurodev Disord 2014 15;6(1):18. Epub 2014 Jul 15.

Birkbeck Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, University of London, London, UK.

Background: Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder arising from a hemizygotic deletion of approximately 27 genes on chromosome 7, at locus 7q11.23. WS is characterised by an uneven cognitive profile, with serious deficits in visuospatial tasks in comparison to relatively proficient performance in some other cognitive domains such as language and face processing. Individuals with partial genetic deletions within the WS critical region (WSCR) have provided insights into the contribution of specific genes to this complex phenotype. However, the combinatorial effects of different genes remain elusive.

Methods: WE REPORT ON VISUOSPATIAL COGNITION IN TWO INDIVIDUALS WITH CONTRASTING PARTIAL DELETIONS IN THE WSCR: one female (HR), aged 11 years 9 months, with haploinsufficiency for 24 of the WS genes (up to GTF2IRD1), and one male (JB), aged 14 years 2 months, with the three most telomeric genes within the WSCR deleted, or partially deleted.

Results: Our in-depth phenotyping of the visuospatial domain from table-top psychometric, and small- and large-scale experimental tasks reveal a profile in HR in line with typically developing controls, albeit with some atypical features. These data are contrasted with patient JB's atypical profile of strengths and weaknesses across the visuospatial domain, as well as with more substantial visuospatial deficits in individuals with the full WS deletion.

Conclusions: Our findings point to the contribution of specific genes to spatial processing difficulties associated with WS, highlighting the multifaceted nature of spatial cognition and the divergent effects of genetic deletions within the WSCR on different components of visuospatial ability. The importance of general transcription factors at the telomeric end of the WSCR, and their combinatorial effects on the WS visuospatial phenotype are also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1866-1955-6-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4107613PMC
July 2014

Interstitial 22q13 deletions not involving SHANK3 gene: a new contiguous gene syndrome.

Am J Med Genet A 2014 Jul 3;164A(7):1666-76. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Medical Genetics, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.

Phelan-McDermid syndrome (22q13.3 deletion syndrome) is a contiguous gene disorder resulting from the deletion of the distal long arm of chromosome 22. SHANK3, a gene within the minimal critical region, is a candidate gene for the major neurological features of this syndrome. We report clinical and molecular data from a study of nine patients with overlapping interstitial deletions in 22q13 not involving SHANK3. All of these deletions overlap with the largest, but not with the smallest deletion associated with Phelan-McDermid syndrome. The deletion sizes and breakpoints varied considerably among our patients, with the largest deletion spanning 6.9 Mb and the smallest deletion spanning 2.7 Mb. Eight out of nine patients had a de novo deletion, while in one patient the origin of deletion was unknown. These patients shared clinical features common to Phelan-McDermid syndrome: developmental delay (11/12), speech delay (11/12), hypotonia (9/12), and feeding difficulties (7/12). Moreover, the majority of patients (8/12) exhibited macrocephaly. In the minimal deleted region, we identified two candidate genes, SULT4A1 and PARVB (associated with the PTEN pathway), which could be associated in our cohort with neurological features and macrocephaly/hypotonia, respectively. This study suggests that the haploinsufficiency of genes in the 22q13 region beside SHANK3 contributes to cognitive and speech development, and that these genes are involved in the phenotype associated with the larger Phelan-McDermid syndrome 22q13 deletions. Moreover, because the deletions in our patients do not involve the SHANK3 gene, we posit the existence of a new contiguous gene syndrome proximal to the smallest terminal deletions in the 22q13 region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.36513DOI Listing
July 2014

Delineation of PIGV mutation spectrum and associated phenotypes in hyperphosphatasia with mental retardation syndrome.

Eur J Hum Genet 2014 Jun 16;22(6):762-7. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Institut für Medizinische Genetik und Humangenetik, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Three different genes of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor synthesis pathway, PIGV, PIGO, and PGAP2, have recently been implicated in hyperphosphatasia-mental retardation syndrome (HPMRS), also known as Mabry syndrome, a rare autosomal recessive form of intellectual disability. The aim of this study was to delineate the PIGV mutation spectrum as well as the associated phenotypic spectrum in a cohort of 16 individuals diagnosed with HPMRS on the basis of intellectual disability and elevated serum alkaline phosphate as minimal diagnostic criteria. All PIGV exons and intronic boundaries were sequenced in 16 individuals. Biallelic PIGV mutations were identified in 8 of 16 unrelated families with HPMRS. The most frequent mutation detected in about 80% of affected families including the cases reported here is the c.1022C>A PIGV mutation, which was found in both the homozygous as well as the heterozygous state. Four further mutations found in this study (c. 176T>G, c.53G>A, c.905T>C, and c.1405C>T) are novel. Our findings in the largest reported cohort to date significantly extend the range of reported manifestations associated with PIGV mutations and demonstrate that the severe end of the clinical spectrum presents as a multiple congenital malformation syndrome with a high frequency of Hirschsprung disease, vesicoureteral, and renal anomalies as well as anorectal malformations. PIGV mutations are the major cause of HPMRS, which displays a broad clinical variability regarding associated malformations and growth patterns. Severe developmental delays, particular facial anomalies, brachytelephalangy, and hyperphosphatasia are consistently found in PIGV-positive individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2013.241DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023216PMC
June 2014

Highly penetrant alterations of a critical region including BDNF in human psychopathology and obesity.

Arch Gen Psychiatry 2012 Dec;69(12):1238-46

CONTEXT Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is suspected of being a causative factor in psychiatric disorders based on case reports or studies involving large structural anomalies. OBJECTIVE To determine the involvement of BDNF in human psychopathology. DESIGN Case-control study. SETTING Microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization data from 7 molecular diagnostic centers including 38 550 affected subjects and 28 705 unaffected subjects. PATIENTS Subjects referred to diagnostic screening centers for microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization for physical or cognitive impairment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Genomic copy number gains and losses. RESULTS We report 5 individuals with psychopathology and genomic deletion of a critical region including BDNF. The defined critical region was never disrupted in control subjects or diagnostic cases without developmental abnormalities. CONCLUSION Hemizygosity of the BDNF region contributes to variable psychiatric phenotypes including anxiety, behavioral, and mood disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.660DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3590016PMC
December 2012
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